The Zen of Content Marketing

zen of content marketing

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” ~ Ben Franklin

Marketing has always been Content Marketing.

When has marketing ever NOT involved some form of content?

How would it even be possible to market without content?

Word of mouth?

Telephone book ads?

The sign in front of your shop?  

That’s all content.  Even if the only piece of information passed is the name of your business…

…that’s content.

Think about those clever construction companies that figured out that consumers always start searching the telephone book at the letter “A”, so they named their business A1 General Contracting LLC so they would show up first in the listings…

That contractor whether he realized it or not was a content marketer… Creating content in a way that got his business found and his phone to ring.

Content marketing is what we’ve always done…

…yet for some reason today it’s a buzzword.

I mean, Copyblogger has been talking about content marketing for 7 years.   That seems like a long time…

…but weren’t all those “Mad Men” era marketers using content to tell their clients story as well?

Heck yes, they were.

So if content marketing has been around for, let’s just say a while, why has content marketing become a buzzword today?

Because today’s technology affords the “little guy” access to the same market of customers as the “big guys.”

Today, my wife’s little insurance agency of 12 employees can compete with super-regional agencies generating 100 times the revenue…

See content marketing was only cool back in the “Mad Men” era to the Fortune 500 giants that could pay the fees of slick NYC marketing firms.

Today, Marcus Sheridan can use content marketing and turn a failing pool business into the #1 fiberglass pool distributor in the country.

The Zen of Content Marketing…

…is that it levels the playing field.

I’m in the insurance business…

When you’re in the insurance business you meet a lot of Real Estate professionals.  Anyone that’s ever spent any amount of time with a Real Estate agent knows the saying, “location, location, location.”

If Real Estate success is derived from your ability to accumulate listings with highly sought after, prime locations.  Home buyers WANT to live at the best location they can afford.

Want… not need…  WANT to live at the best location they can afford.

Content, Content, Content Marketing

When it comes to marketing your business online success is derived from producing and/or curating highly sought after, prime content within your industry.


…consumers  WANT to do business with the most highly sought after, prime purveyors of whatever it is you sell and your content is what draws them in.

there are many different factors to consider when attempting to generate search traffic to your website/blog…

…but if you really want to show up high in Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engine rankings it all comes back to quality content.

Don’t believe me?

The following is a paragraph directly from the Google Search Engine Optimization Starter’s Guide (which you should read):

“Interesting sites will increase their recognition on their own. Creating compelling and useful content will likely influence your website more than any of the other factors discussed here.  Users know good content when they see it and will likely want to direct other users to it. This could be through blog posts, social media services, email, forums, or other means. Organic or word-of-mouth buzz is what helps build your site’s reputation with both users and Google, and it rarely comes without quality content.”

Your Clients Want Quality Content

If you are like most small business professionals, most people in general I guess, you are probably not an accomplished writer.

I know I certainly am not.

But I can boast publishing over 160 posts on this blog in just over a year and over 150 posts on my insurance agency website in two years.

Sometimes the posts are good, sometimes they’re just ehhh…

…but the content is always there… new, fresh, original content created specifically for each audience, designed to educate and inspire.

The point is our clients demand quality content from us.   Let me put that another way, our clients demand quality content and they’re either getting it from us through our content marketing efforts… or they’re getting it from our competitors.

Let’s go back to The Zen of Content Marketing…

…which is it levels the playing field.

In today’s market, content marketing has never been more affordable.  Ten years ago small business didn’t consider content marketing because the cost of telling your story, in that business landscape, was astronomical.

I mean geez, a 3o second radio spot costs what? A couple grand, on a radio station worth being on.

How are you supposed to build rapport, deliver your value proposition and add a call-to-action in 30 seconds?

I’m sure there are marketers out there that can convert in that time frame but we’re talking about the average small business…

I don’t think most small businesses could create consistent ROI from content marketing 10 years ago.  So content marketing never even entered their mind… and that’s OK… or at least it was 10 years ago.

Content Marketing Today

Today content marketing is a buzzword.

Content marketing is a buzzword because the barrier to entry is so low.

Everyone with a computer and a couple hundred bucks (like seriously less than $200) can begin a rapport building, value proposition explaining, call-to-action rich content marketing campaign that strategically targets margin-building clients.


You need a blog with WordPress (try Pagely or WPEngine) and…

a nice looking design.

That’s it.

You can now create blog posts (written content) that…

…tells the story of your business,

…explain the services your office,

…educate prospects on your products,

…develop relationships,

…describe what it’s like to do business with you,

…show people how to begin working with your business.

I’ve had a lot of success with video content as well (read about my video blogging experiment) but text-based blog posts are the best place to start.

The Zen of Content Marketing…

…is that it levels the playing field.

So if marketing has always been content marketing and content marketing levels the playing field for small business to compete with their larger competition…

How do we win?

We create better content.

I’m not talking about professionally edited copywriting or Hollywood produced video.

I”m talking about creating content around what really matters to the people in your town, that buy your product, that only a boots-on-the-ground foot soldier living their business every day would be able to create.

Corporate isn’t cool anymore.

Real is.

Your business is real and it’s content derived from your real business that people want to consume when choosing who do business with.

The Content Marketing Rub

The rub is simply this…

The barriers to small business utilizing content marketing have come down and it’s time to take advantage.

By consistently creating content that builds rapport, establishes your value proposition and delivers a call-to-action…

Your small business can run with the big boys.

The Zen of Content Marketing…

…is that it levels the playing field for YOU!

Thank you and Good luck,

I am Ryan Hanley

P.S. read this next, The Ron Swanson Guide to Content Marketing.